United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO DISMISS
S. LASNIK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on defendant Crystal Ward's
motion to dismiss. Dkt. # 36. Defendant states that she is
computer illiterate, has never downloaded a movie in her
life, and had never heard of Boyka Undisputed 4
until she was served with summons in this matter. Ms.
Ward's statements were not made under penalty of perjury,
however, and are therefore not admissible as evidence in
their present form.
question for the Court on a motion to dismiss is whether the
facts in the complaint sufficiently state a
“plausible” ground for relief. Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
A claim is facially plausible when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged. Plausibility requires pleading facts, as opposed to
conclusory allegations or the formulaic recitation of
elements of a cause of action, and must rise above the mere
conceivability or possibility of unlawful conduct that
entitles the pleader to relief. Factual allegations must be
enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level. Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely
consistent with a defendant's liability, it stops short
of the line between possibility and plausibility of
entitlement to relief. Nor is it enough that the complaint is
factually neutral; rather, it must be factually suggestive.
Somers v. Apple, Inc., 729 F.3d 953, 959-60 (9th
Cir. 2013) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).
For purposes of a motion to dismiss, all well-pleaded factual
allegations are presumed to be true, with all reasonable
inferences drawn in favor of the non-moving party. In re
Fitness Holdings Int'l, Inc., 714 F.3d 1141, 1144-45
(9th Cir. 2013). When a complaint fails to adequately state a
claim, such deficiency should be “exposed at the point
of minimum expenditure of time and money by the parties and
the court.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 558. A
complaint may be lacking for one of two reasons: (i) absence
of a cognizable legal theory or (ii) insufficient facts under
a cognizable legal claim. Robertson v. Dean Witter
Reynolds, Inc., 749 F.2d 530, 534 (9th Cir. 1984).
alleges that Ms. Ward is a Comcast customer who was assigned
an IP address that was used to download all or part of
plaintiff's copyrighted work. While it is true that
plaintiff's allegation that each of the named defendants
“copied and distributed Plaintiff's copyrighted
motion picture” (Dkt. # 10 at ¶ 10) is merely a
formulaic recitation of an element of plaintiff's direct
infringement claim, plaintiff has made specific factual
allegations in support of that assertion, such as:
• that Comcast identified Ms. Ward as the subscriber to
whom a specific IP address was assigned during the relevant
time period (Id. at ¶¶ 10-11);
• that the “IP address was observed infringing
Plaintiff's motion picture at that time”
(Id. at ¶ 24);
• that the download of Boyka Undisputed 4 was
not an isolated infringement, but rather one instance of
significant BitTorrent activity in which Ms. Ward' IP
address participated during the relevant period (Id.
at ¶ 12);
• that the materials shared and downloaded would not be
of interest to a child (Id.); and
• that the physical location and layout of Ms.
Ward's residence makes it unlikely that her IP address
was hijacked by a neighbor or passerby (Id. at
allegations render some of the other plausible explanations
for the infringing use of the IP address less likely.
Plaintiff has alleged facts indicating that Ms. Ward is not
in a location where strangers could connect to her server,
that the BitTorrent activity was continuous enough that it
was not the work of an occasional or transient guest, that it
is unlikely that a child in the residence was responsible for
the download, and that the use of the IP address for
infringing activity was extensive enough that an inference of
knowledge and permission arises. All of these facts, added to
Ms. Ward' ownership of the account, raise a plausible
inference that she is the person who engaged in copyright
infringement. Plaintiff may be wrong - but it is not required
to prove its allegations in order to adequately plead a claim
of infringement under Twombly.
of the foregoing reasons, Ms. Ward' motion to ...